I’ve been looking for a way to monetize a WordPressMU site, and have come down to two options: make it a membership site and/or use applicable affiliate links.
Subscription sites are getting more and more common as time goes by. There are many sites making big bucks off of mass quantities of tiny subscriptions. However, there are also many sites that never make it off the ground because they can’t get users to pay for their content or service. The only way I’ve found of knowing what will work is by trying it.
I’ve done a lot of research and testing in the last couple of weeks, in search of a good membership management application or WordPress plugin. Most of the subscription plugins out there are intended to hide and show premium content, but I’d like to monetize a service not the content. I started with aMember, then tried several WordPress plugins, and have gone full circle, concluding that aMember is the best solution for my needs. If I weren’t using BuddyPress, Wishlist Member would have been my final selection. Although I was unable to thoroughly test all of the following options, they are all rumored to work with WPMU.
Pros: Tons of payment gateway options that can be integrated siply and quickly by checking the boxes and inputting access keys. 30-day money back return policy. Supports custom plugins.
Cons: Integrating into WPMU requires PHP knowledge and skinning can be a pain. Here is the way I got these two applications to play nicely together.
Pros: It’s a WordPress plugin, so integration is fast and simple with very little extra styling. 30-day money back guarantee. It works in WPMU although the authors don’t officially support it.
Cons: Doesn’t work with BuddyPress. Integration still required the creation of payment buttons with the payment processor. Code encryption makes any customizations impossible.
Pros: Built specifically for WPMU.
Cons: The price makes it difficult to try it out since I’m a tightwad, and the feature documentation is very limited at this point.
Pros: It’s cheap. I used a promo code (save50) and got 50% off for a grand total of $22.50. No need to create buttons from PayPal. Frequent sale prices.
Cons: IonCube Encryption. The plugin authors have very stiff and somewhat unfriendly-sounding terms: “We do not offer refunds as there are no reasons why any software we sell should not work.” The WP-Member website sound effects and animations are way overdone.
Affiliate sales are a relatively pain-free alternative to setting up a membership site or even a supplemental revenue source. To get started with affiliate sales, follow the steps below: